Cal State Universities (CSU) are saving money by offering online courses, yet some students say online courses don’t go as in depth as a regular classroom.
The result is, universities have figured out a way to save money, but according to students, at the cost of quality education.
The CSU system has saved approximately $4 million through the bulk purchase of online advising, class materials, and $1.6 million for plagiarism detection programs, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Although it is still an early stage to start measuring cost, it is important to begin evaluating ways to drive down cost without affecting academic quality,” officials said during a presentation before the Board of Trustees, who met on Wednesday, May 20, in Long Beach.
CSUs have reported saving an average of $50 million in the past by providing their students with online streaming courses, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Administrative efficiencies are easier to boil down to a dollar figure but when you’re talking about academics, you’re really looking to increase learning, civic engagement all of the work of a university and do it with the same resources,” said Ken O’Donnell, Cal State’s senior director of student engagement and academic initiatives and partnerships.
The savings can be measured by the students’ success and swifter graduations, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Students believe that having online courses is a great advantage for students themselves. Online courses allow students to have a flexible schedule and have more time to study or work.
“In the past, I have taken three online courses, all of which have taught me what I need to know. Even though they might not go as in depth as a regular classroom, it is a good way to get an education if you don’t have enough time in your hands,” said CSUSB student Daniel Lopez.
“Online classes are a great investment and are definitively beneficial to everyone because they give you a very flexible schedule to work with. However, on the downside, it is all on you. There is no professor there to tell you what you need to do or to help you when you need them,” said student Joshua Norvelle.
State funding for CSUs and other public colleges and universities have increased incrementally under multi-year spending plans arranged by Gov. Jerry Brown, but remains far below pre-recession levels, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Officials said that the governor still takes the opportunity to repeatedly lecture campus leaders on the need to cut costs.
The system will need $60 million more in state funding for 2015-16 than is being proposed in Brown’s revised budget.
“The 23-campus system is part of several national grant-funded programs that are evaluating more ephemeral student success measures such [as] resiliency, determination, self-efficacy and intellectual prowess, all traits that are valued by employers,” said O’Donnell.
“Some efforts are more concrete: used-book and digital-book rental programs have saved students $30 million,” officials said.